Anthony Brian Tecca, charged last year with endangering three children and another motorist while driving under the influence of alcohol, was sentenced in District Court April 16, 2013. He will serve 13 months in state custody, followed by three years of probation. The judge also ordered him to pay a $1,000 fine and recommended Tecca for the stat’s alcohol treatment program. The surrounding charges against Tecca were dropped as part of a plea agreement.
The father of one of the children who was riding with Tecca that fateful evening had testified during his sentencing hearing. The fathers, Joe Kusek, told Tecca that his actions had caused his daughter lose trust in others. The father had harsh words for Tecca. He told that he was lucky that no one was hu this time, but that luck could eventually run out. Tecca apologized before he was sentenced. Tecca was taken into custody after the hearing to begin his sentence. He had been free on bond.
Tecca, a 42-year-old man from billings, was charged with drunk driving and criminal endangerment on January 7, 2012. Police arrested Tecca while he was traveling with his three children. He was taken into custody shortly after 10p.m that evening. Officer had received reports of a reckless driver in his area, somewhere on Belvedere Drive. A motorist called police and informed them that Tecca, driving a minivan, had struck numerous parked cars. Tecca also barely avoided a head on collision with an approaching vehicle.
Police found the minivan on Montclair Drive. Officers said that Tecca was obviously intoxicated, failed to properly perform the standard field sobriety tests, and that he refused to provide a breath sample. When officers checked the back of the van, they found the three children, ages 10, 9 and 7. Authorities were able to obtain a blood sample from Tecca after a judge issued a search warrant. Tecca was eventually charged with four counts of felony endangerment, three for the children and one for the driver he almost struck with his vehicle. He was also charged with a count of felony DUI.
He previously appeared before Judge Russell Fagg and pleaded not guilty to the charges. The judge allowed him to remain free pending trial, provided that Tecca posted $10,000 bond. The judge also ordered electronic alcohol monitoring. Tecca had three DUIs on his record prior to his most recent run in with law enforcement.
Some believe that Montana is in the midst of a DUI crisis. Some have accused the state of having a culture conducive to DUIs. Some have argued that current penalties don’t go far enough, even after the laws were amended in 2011. A look at the history of DUI in the state reveals that it took threats from the federal government to force the creation of open container laws, a BAC limit of .08, and an increase in the drinking age to 21. Montana to introduce Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) ranked Montana 45th for the moth recent year. Under its rating system, the higher the state’s ranking the higher the percentage of DUI related deaths. The organization has recommended that the Montana state legislature pass new laws requiring ignition interlocks for first time drunk drivers.